This is a short blog post to provide some updates on my current thinking on the nature of Demand Avoidance Phenomena (DAP, often called Pathological Demand Avoidance). Lately, I have made significant changes in my views on the construct, such as suggesting a new diagram to demonstrate how its nature.

Woods PDA Diagram 29 July 2020


I currently view DAP as a new type of disorder that is not part of the autism spectrum. DAP seems to be Elizabeth Newson’s “Pervasive Developmental Coding Disorder”.  You can find out more here (


This is why I view DAP as a Pervasive Developmental Coding Disorder (


I have received a comment around helping autism caregivers against Fabricated or Induced Illness (FII). FII is a form of child abuse and autism carers and autistic mothers in particular can often be falsely accused of FII, unfortunately it is a tragic problem (


It made me wonder about if DAP is a good defence against FII claims. As I was reflecting I recalled that I made:


Hypothesis: DAP is a trauma/ distress response not specific to autism. ( )


Consequently, it led me to review the literature to see if DAP is a trauma response. I do think there is a good case it is. I admit that often trauma in autistic persons is not caused by caregivers, but that does not make DAP a good defence against FFI claims. There are other important implications for accepting this hypothesis.


I am due to publish another list of published DAP articles soon.


Is DAP a trauma response non-specific to autism?

I have attached the thread investigating the case for DAP being a trauma response non-specific to autism:

06 August 2020 PDA is a trauma response not specific to autism evidence


If you have any questions, please do contact me.


My latest research.

My most recent conference paper is:

  • Is the concept of Demand Avoidance Phenomena (Pathological Demand Avoidance) real or mythical?


I have recently had a commentary article published in Good Autism Practice:

  • Demand avoidance phenomena: circularity, integrity and validity – a commentary on the 2018 National Autistic Society DAP Conference.


A follow up was later published in Good Autism Practice:

  • Pathological Demand Avoidance and the DSM-5: a rebuttal to Judy Eaton’s response.


Furthermore, I have DAP article published in Child & Adolescent Mental Health.

  • Commentary: Demand Avoidance Phenomena, a manifold issue? Intolerance of uncertainty and anxiety as explanatory frameworks for extreme demand avoidance in children and adolescents – a commentary on Stuart et al. (2019).


Additionally, I and others have had a short essay published in Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders:

  • Empathy and a Personalised Approach in Autism.


A book chapter describing what the sub-discipline Critical Autism Studies is, I lead authored it and it can be found here (chapter seems free to access):


Autism Policy and Practice.

The autistic-led good practice journal, Autism Policy and Practice has published its first edition under the current editor team. This can be accessed via the link below:

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